Senate ratifies Kigali Amendment deal on refrigerants

Washington DC: In a major action to address climate change, the Senate on Wednesday ratified an international agreement that compels the United States and other countries to limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons, highly potent greenhouse gases commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning that are far more powerful than carbon dioxide.

The so-called Kigali Amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on ozone pollution requires participating nations to phase down production and use of hydrofluorocarbons, also known as HFCs, by 85 percent over the next 14 years, as part of a global phase-out intended to slow climate change.

The Senate approved the treaty, 69-27, above the two-thirds margin required for ratification.

HFCs are considered a significant driver of global warming and are being targeted worldwide. Nearly 200 nations reached a deal in 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda, to limit HFCs and find environment-friendly substitutes. More than 130 nations, including China, India, and Russia, have formally ratified the agreement, which scientists say could help the world avoid a half-degree Celsius of global warming.

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